Moscow is a beautiful city, and is anticipating a huge increase in visitors for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Yet it is a city used to coping with large numbers of visitors with the Moscow City Government stating that 19 million people visited the city in 2016. That is almost the whole population of Australia, which is just over 24 million!
With over 8000 heritage sites in the city they are encouraging World Cup tourists to stay more than a few days so they have time to visit as many of these as possible. With over one million fans expected to visit the city and attained games at the two grounds hosting games this would be good advice to heed.
They have really worked hard to make everyone welcome, with 250 hotels allowing pets to stay with their owners. In some cases free of charge and at others a fee does apply. There are 22 Hotels that have been adapted to make Chinese tourists feel at home, ranging from five star to two star properties.
Russia is very aware that many will be visiting the country and the capital city for the first time and that safety will be a concern, as a result they launched the project “Safe City.” This is an integrated safety system that provides monitoring of all events and gives relevant information to all securities and agencies.The Moscow surveillance network includes 142,000 cameras. This is more than one camera for every fan in the A-League who supported their clubs in 2016-17 based on the seasonal average for each club, which made for a total of 122,589!
According to Global research and Consulting company Frost and Sullivan Moscow was rated as “one of the top 10 cities with the highest level of urban safety and advanced information and communication technology.”
Add to this there will be “Tourist Police” who will be fluent in other languages and will wear armbands so that World Cup tourists will be able to identify them and ask them for directions or any other assistance.
It would appear that Moscow is really looking to lay out the red carpet for football fans, and debunk some of the myths about what is a truly great city. Although no doubt some will feel that being watched so closely is not all about ensuring a safe and happy stay in Moscow. Yet what is the difference between this and what many experience already at home and whenever they log onto a computer or use a bank card?